Masterfully executed to honour the land, the rustic landscape of this 6,100-square-foot modern farmhouse comes together with natural elements that include awe- inspiring outdoor features for this family of five. Edible gardens, a sport court, an oceanfront lounge area, and an outdoor kitchen elevate this waterfront home’s retreat- style vibe to make it a playground for rest and fun.
Christian Barnard Land Studio collaborated with the owners on a design scheme that would require complex hardscaping and thoughtful plantings for this windswept seaside property. Barnard turned to Bob Ingram and Chad Plater at Integral Design + Build to execute his comprehensive plan.
“The owners wanted to create a custom landscape that would seamlessly tie into the home’s architecture and preserve the naturalized setting for a harmonious indoor/ outdoor living experience,” explains Ingram, who built distinct areas with varying functions while keeping environmental sustainability top of mind.
Local soil, cistern tanks for rain catchment, edible plants, and specified areas for attracting birds were thoughtfully woven into the design. Not to mention, all the wood in the home is preserved with a product called Lifetime, a non-toxic, plant-based stain that allows the wood to patina to a natural grey.
“Eco-friendly parameters were always considered,” states Plater, who used reclaimed timber from a local school for one of the decks and the staircase leading to the outdoor kitchen.
“The scope and scale of this project was really outside of a standard landscape project,” says Plater, who adds that they have a skilled in-house team of ticketed carpenters to work on the heavy construction components like the rainwater management (two 8000 gallon cistern tanks), electrical conduit work, comprehensive concrete installation, a detailed water feature, drilled well for irrigation, custom-built sport court, and numerous exterior light fixtures on ten separate zones of lighting all tied to the mechanical room.
Plater and Ingram decommissioned a large pond to build a creek-like water feature to flow under an existing bridge that is part of the driveway. Recycled rainwater flows down from the higher ground, cascades over existing bedrock, and runs under the bridge and into the ground to be recirculated. The naturalized waterfall feels quintessentially west coast with a variable flow that the owners can control to audibly surge like Sooke in December or dial down for a peaceful ambiance.
A natural descension from the concrete terrace leads to an oceanfront lounge area centred around a remote- controlled gas fireplace, bordered by natural rock outcroppings and creeping thyme ground cover. An adjacent private hot tub area completes the restful refuge.
Barnard collaborated closely with the homeowners to come up with a garden design that includes raised bed edible gardens (fenced in and deer-proof), a rooftop veggie garden, and hardy plants with visual interest like ornamental grasses and mosses resistant to wind and saltwater on the ocean side.
Balancing the soothing areas, a basketball court for the athletes in the family enjoys seaside views and is retained with concrete walls and infilled with a full drainage basin built on top of a sports base — a water-permeable space where water enters the cistern tanks and overflow is funneled to the ocean after going through a filtration bed.
“The landscape lighting was thoughtfully installed to highlight the home’s unique angles and lines and looks very special at night,” says Ingram. He adds that the entire project was highly collaborative and emphasizes that their landscape build schedule hinged on Falcon Heights Contracting deadlines during the construction of the house.
“Logistically, it got tricky with machinery, so we had to work our way around the home as it was built. It was a collective effort that flowed seamlessly given the complexity of each aspect; it’s a project we can all be proud of.”